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Working with Vulnerable Populations for Greater Community Resilience


Working with Vulnerable Populations for Greater Community Resilience is a Smart and Connected Communities workshop put on as part of the NSF-funded SCC-RCN project, MOHERE: Mobility, Health, and Resilience: Building Capacities and Expanding Impact.


check back for slides and other event materials!

This workshop focused on scholarship and strategies to reduce homelessness, expand personal mobility, and lessen risks of natural disaster, especially for underserved and vulnerable communities. The overall approach was to improve resilience and health. We brought together researchers from a variety of fields spanning engineering, social sciences, health, and humanities to discuss with civic and community stakeholders the challenges cities face and develop ideas addressing three themes:

Homelessness and Housing

    • Connecting and leveraging efforts across the public/private/nonprofit sectors
    • Reducing barriers to building and accessing housing
    • Wealth building to reduce housing needs

Mobility and Equity

    • Mobility solutions that respond to climate change, natural disasters, and health
    • Equitable development and mobility
    • Vulnerable populations and transit access

Community Resilience

    • Meeting the needs of the unhoused via disaster preparedness
    • Addressing social and climate resilience through disaster preparedness
    • Building networks to support preparedness


Tuesday, May 30

5:00 – 7:00 PM: Registration, Welcome & Reception

Wednesday, May 31

8:00 AM: Breakfast & Registration

8:45 AM: Welcome

9:00 AM: Keynote Session: Lisa Bates, Professor, Portland State University, link to slide presentation

link to video presentation

9:40 AM: Community Panel: Homelessness & Housing

10:50 AM: Break

11:00 AM: Research Session: Homelessness & Housing

link to video presentation

12:30 PM: Lunch

1:30 PM: Community Panel: Mobility & Equity

link to video presentation

3:00 PM: Coffee Break & Discussion

3:30 PM: Research Session: Mobility & Equity

link to video presentation

5:00 PM: Day One Wrap-up & Report Out

Thursday, June 1

8:00 AM: Breakfast

8:30 AM: Welcome & Overview

8:40 AM: Community Panel: Community Resilience

link to video presentation

9:50 AM: Coffee Break & Discussion

10:20 AM: Research Session: Community Resilience

link to video presentation

11:45 AM: Lunch & Presentation: Gerard Sandoval, Professor, University of Oregon, link to slide presentation

link to video presentation

12:40 PM: Wrap-up & Next Steps

1:00 PM: End – Thank you!

Speaker Bios

Keynote: Lisa Bates is Professor at Portland State University in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and in Black Studies. She is the Portland Professor in Innovative Housing Policy. Recognition of her work includes the 2019 UAA-SAGE Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award and the 2016 Dale Prize for scholarship advancing community self-determination and racial justice. Dr. Bates’ research and practice includes deep engagements with community-based organizations working towards racial justice and housing rights, including Portland’s anti-displacement coalition. She holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Keynote: Gerard Sandoval is a Professor in the School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management at the University of Oregon. Dr. Sandoval situates his scholarly research within intersections of racial equity, immigration, and city planning. Dr. Sandoval’s books include Immigrants and the Revitalization of Los Angeles: Development and Change in MacArthur Park, Bicycle Justice and Urban Transformation: Biking for All? and, more recently, Aesthetics of Gentrification: Seductive Spaces and Exclusive Communities in the Neoliberal City. He received his PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley

Black Prisoners’ Caucus Community Group and Seattle Housing Authority Partnership Seattle Housing Authority’s (SHA) mission is to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability in an equitable way. Working in partnership with the Black Prisoners’ Caucus Community Group (BPCCG) and community stakeholders, SHA is collaborating in designing an inclusive housing pilot program for justice-involved individuals. SHA and BPCCG staff and community stakeholders include:

    • Kimonti Carter Founder, TEACH-Taking Education and Creating History, BPCCG Member;
    • Wayne Dubois Curriculum development/ Reintegration specialist, Trainer and Facilitator;
    • Andria Lazaga Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Seattle Housing Authority;
    • Terry Mowatt Director of Reintegration, BPCCG & Strategic Advisor, Seattle Housing Authority;
    • Willie Nobles Case Manager, Fathers In Transition & BPCCG Member;
    • Marie Wiley Director of Housing & Community Development, BPCCG & Strategic Advisor, Seattle Housing Authority.

Emeka Anyanwu has been with Seattle City Light since March 2018 and leads the utility’s business unit responsible for work in innovation strategy, transportation and building electrification, grid modernization, implementation of strategic grid technologies, and the utility’s IT and OT technology strategy, and cybersecurity functions. He is also responsible for overseeing regional affairs and trade organization engagements, power resource management functions, and the power marketing operations of the utility, including acquiring wholesale power, transmission, and other related services to meet the utility’s short and long-term demand. The team’s work drives Seattle City Light’s strategic execution to meet the Utility’s current and future customer and community needs and expectations in the new energy marketplace. Emeka has been in the industry for over 2 decades, marking 5 years with Seattle in March 2023, after having previously been at Kansas City Power & Light Company (now Evergy) for 16 years.

Lamis Ashour is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate at the department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. Lamis holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Critical Infrastructure from the MIT and Masdar Institute Cooperative Program. She worked as a researcher at the biennale of Venice 2018 and as a research and development officer at Thales Group. During her Ph.D. studies thus far, she has published research in transportation policy, sustainable cities, travel behavior, and social equity. She has also taught courses in GIS, digital design, and sustainable cities for undergraduate and graduate students.

Jeff Ban is the William and Marilyn Conner Endowed Professor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of UW. His research interests are in transportation network system modeling and simulation, urban traffic modeling and control, and Intelligent Transportation Systems. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the New Faculty Award by the Council of University Transportation Centers and American Road & Transportation Builders Association, and the Finalist of Franz Edelman Award by INFORMS. He has published over 150 papers and his research has been funded by the NSF, USDOT/FHWA, WSDOT, among others.

Barbara Baquero is an Associate Professor at the UW School of Public Health and a Co-Principal Investigator at the Participatory Active Transportation for Health in South Seattle (PATHSS). Her research focuses on the design and implementation of effective community-based interventions to reduce health disparities and advance health equity among historically marginalized communities, particularly Latinxs living in urban and rural communities in the US, with an emphasis on promoting active lifestyles and healthy diets. Her research intersects community-based participatory research (CBPR), behavior change intervention research and implementation science. Barbara received a PhD in Health Behavior from San Diego State University.

Anat Caspi is Principal Scientist at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. She is Director of the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, whose mission is to develop, translate and deploy open source universally accessible technologies, with a focus on benefiting individuals with motor limitations or speech impairment. TCAT’s academic mission is to engage undergraduate design and engineering students in participatory design and inclusive design practices. Dr. Caspi’s primary research areas are in the fields of Ubiquitous Computing and Contextually Aware Automation. Her research focuses on engineering machine intelligent solutions for customizable real-time, responsive technologies in the context of work, play and urban street environments. She has designed, developed and evaluated sensor and mobile applications for personalized navigation and routing in pedestrian ways, improving personal automated mobility devices, and enhancing automation in play/work environments with contextually-responsive behavior. Her primary design methods involve participatory design, and a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. Dr. Caspi received the Northwest Access Technology Innovation Award in 2017.

Seema Clifasefi (she/her) is an associate professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She holds a PhD in Psychology, and is also a licensed clinical social worker. She serves as the Director of the Doorway Project which is a partnership between the UW and YouthCare to center the voices of youth and young adults (YYA) in addressing issues around YYA homelessness. She also serves as the co-director of the Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center where she works collaboratively with people who use substances and the communities and agencies that serve them to help reduce substance related harm and improve quality of life. Her research lies at the intersection of substance use, mental health, justice involvement, and housing, with an emphasis on populations with these lived experiences.

Kyle Crowder’s research focuses on the processes of residential differentiation and the effects of physical and social context on individual life conditions. Most of his recent work deals with processes of neighborhood selection and how racial and ethnic differences in the residential mobility process shape broader patterns of residential segregation. He received his BA in Sociology from the University of Washington and, after working for several years as a counselor and caseworker, earned his Ph.D. from the University of New York at Albany in 1997. Prior to returning to UW, he held faculty positions at Western Washington University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Rachel Fyall is an Associate Professor at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Her research investigates the role of nonprofit service providers within the policy process and social safety net, primarily within the contexts of homelessness programs and housing for low-income households. Rachel’s research has been published in Public Administration Review, Policy Studies Journal, and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Rachel holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Indiana University, an M.P.A. from George Washington University, and a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University.

Kurtis Heimerl is an Associate Professor at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. He works with wonderful students in the Change and ICTD groups. He works broadly on the space of technology for poverty alleviation, specifically Internet Access. He was a recipient of the 2014 MIT “35 under 35” award, the 2018 UW early career Diamond Award, and won “Best Paper” awards at CHI, COMPASS, PETS, and DySPAN and two “Community Awards” at NSDI. He occasionally publishes on the UWCSE ICTD Blog and is a technical advisor at Madrona Venture Labs.

Bradley Kramer is the Asthma and CHW Program Manager at Public Health – Seattle & King County. He manages a program to bring enhanced clinic and health plan systems to provide asthma care, and improve self-management through community health workers. Brad is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington School of Public Health. He has been researching the integration of evidence-based programming into clinical practice. In particular, he is interested in how to build clinical-community linkages. His future research interests include the adaptation of public health and health care services to climate change events that impact health outcomes.

Andria Lazaga has worked for more than 20 years at the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) toward innovative housing and supportive services solutions for many of Seattle’s most vulnerable residents. She leads cross-sector partnerships and learning/research collaborations to strengthen the role of SHA’s housing in advancing equity. Andria is active in multiple national affordable housing groups that advocate for more affordable housing resources and flexibility to address local needs. She earned a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington.

Sophia Lopez’s drive and passion for public education and building resilient communities come from her own personal experiences with natural hazards. She has personally experienced and survived tornadoes in Texas, hurricanes in Georgia and Louisiana, snow storms in Eastern WA, and earthquakes in Hawaii. Prior to her current role in the City of Seattle, Sophia served as Emergency Management Program Manager King County and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at the City of Bellevue. She holds a Masters of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Studies from Tulane University and a  Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Don MacKenzie is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. He leads the Sustainable Transportation Lab, which studies technical and policy solutions for making our transportation system more economically viable and environmentally benign, while providing access to opportunities for all. MacKenzie holds a PhD in Engineering Systems and SM in Technology and Policy, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BASc in Chemical & Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia. He is the editor of Energy Findings and an editorial board member at Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment.

Ahmer Nizam is the Director of Environmental Services at the Washington State Department of Transportation. His division includes programs for environmental justice, climate resiliency, fish passage and wildlife connectivity, environmental compliance and permitting, stormwater, hazardous materials, and wetlands management. Ahmer has worked in Washington State government for nearly 24 years, beginning his career as a policy specialist at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. He joined WSDOT in 2005 as the department’s Railroad Liaison and has served in other roles including as the State Utilities Manager and Technical Services Manager. He is currently WSDOT’s ex-officio member on the state’s Environmental Justice Council and an executive sponsor for WSDOT HEAL Act implementation. Before moving to Olympia from Chicago in 1999, Ahmer completed his BA in Economics from Western Illinois University and MS in Environmental Sustainability and Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Paulo Nunes-Ueno is an expert in sustainable transportation. He has worked with cities, transit agencies, and campuses across the country to create healthy communities through safe and effective mobility strategies. Prior to his consulting career, Paulo was the Director of Transit and Mobility at the City of Seattle Department of Transportation, the Director of Transportation and Sustainability at Seattle Children’s, and a Project/Program Manager at King County Metro’s Commute Trip Reduction Program. Until April of 2023, Paulo served as the transportation policy lead at Front and Centered, where he supported the development of a transportation justice agenda.

Resham Patel is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington. She focuses on practice-based disaster research and partnerships, informed by 15 years of public health experience, including at Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). In her role at PHSKC, Resham led a range of preparedness efforts, including an assessment of the agency’s COVID-19 response. She has a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University and is an alumna of the Center for Health Security’s Biosecurity Fellowship.

Em Piro is an inquisitor, shaker, doer, and shifter. 15 years working and thinking through public practice in a myriad of industries and formats, predominantly in social service, environmental justice, culture, and creative placemaking. She is a community organizer, artist, researcher, registered counselor, member of the American Planning Association, and at her most elemental, a collaborator. Her work integrates urban issues and culture for a more just and generative world. She has conducted research and/or presented her work on urbanism, sustainability, and socio-ecology in the US and Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Tanzania, Scotland, Portugal, Sweden and Central Europe.

Evalynn Fae Taganna Romano (she/her) is the Research & Community Outreach Coordinator at PATHSS. Romano’s research interests focus primarily on community-based participatory and qualitative research. Supporting communities of color is especially important to Romano. She has a long track record of advocacy work, her most prominent being The Custodian Project. Romano earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degrees in both Public Health and Social Work from the University of Washington.

Vivek Shandas is a Professor at Portland State University. He is also the Founder and Director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR), where he brings a policy-relevant approach to research, including the evaluation of environmental stressors on human health, development of indicators and tools to improve decision-making, and the construction of frameworks to guide the growth of urban regions. His teaching and research examine the intersection of exposure to climate-induced events, governance processes, and planning mechanisms. Dr. Shandas serves as Chair of the City of Portland’s Urban Forestry Commission and serves on several local and national advisory boards.

Bart Treece is the Director of the Mobility Innovation Center at the University of Washington. He works with academic researchers, public agencies, non-profits, and private sector partners to develop near-term transportation projects that address a shared problem in the region. Prior to joining the university, Bart spent 10 years at WSDOT working on various projects, issues, and initiatives. He also spent 12 years as a broadcast journalist. Bart earned a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State University and a Master of Sustainable Transportation from the University of Washington. Bart is a certified Professional Transportation Planner® (PTP).

Anaid Yerena is an associate professor of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her research interests include housing and community development in the U.S. and Mexico, advocacy organizations, social inequality, and urban governance. Her work investigates the factors influencing local affordable housing policies and practices with a special interest in the impact of community organizations on public decision-making processes. As secondary areas of research, she is interested in the emerging field of e-government and community engagement in the use/design of public spaces. Her previous work was published in Urban Affairs Review, Housing Policy Debate and Housing Studies.


Rachel Berney – Workshop Co-Chair; Faculty Director, Urban@UW; Associate Professor, Department of Urban Design and Planning

Jen Davison – Workshop Co-Chair; Director, Urban@UW; Project Director for Community Engagement, University Initiatives

Payman Arabshahi – Workshop Co-Chair; PI, S&CC: Mobility, Health, and Resilience in Smart and Connected Communities; Associate Professor, Department Electrical & Computer Engineering

Ana Costa – Graduate Research Assistant, Urban@UW

Logan Bridge – Communications Assistant, Urban@UW